CNN – A new report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the number of overdose deaths involving the potent narcotic fentanyl and variations of the drug nearly doubled between the last half of 2016 and the first half of 2017.
The report analyzed overdose deaths that tested positive for fentanyl and similar compounds from July 2016 to June 2017 in 10 states: Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wisconsin. From July 2016 to December 2016, the CDC found 764 fentanyl and fentanyl analog-related deaths in the 10 states. In the following six months, from January 2017 to June 2017, the CDC tallied 1,511 overdose deaths involving the drugs.
When legitimately prescribed, fentanyl helps patients managing extreme pain, such as caused by cancer. It is typically dosed in the form of tablets, patches or intravenously. However, illicit forms of the drug are commonly sold as a powder or pressed into pills. Fentanyl and chemically similar variations, known as analogs, have been sold on the black market and can be extremely potent.
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